Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after contact with the virus, with an average of 8 to 10 days. The course of the illness typically progresses from “dry” symptoms initially (such as fever, aches and pains, and fatigue), and then progresses to “wet” symptoms (such as diarrhea and vomiting) as the person becomes sicker.
Primary signs and symptoms of Ebola often include some or several of the following:
Aches and pains, such as severe headache, muscle and joint pain, and abdominal (stomach) pain
Weakness and fatigue
Gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting
Abdominal (stomach) pain
Unexplained hemorrhaging, bleeding or bruising
Other symptoms may include red eyes, skin rash, and hiccups (late stage).
Many common illnesses can have the same symptoms as EVD, including influenza (flu), malaria, or typhoid fever.
EVD is a rare but severe and often deadly disease. Recovery from EVD depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. Studies show that survivors of Ebola virus infection have antibodies (proteins made by the immune system that identify and neutralize invading viruses) that can be detected in the blood up to 10 years after recovery. Survivors are thought to have some protective immunity to the type of Ebola that sickened them.